Saturday, March 14, 2020

1940 Obituary of Mrs. Mary Cimino AKA Maria Ossino

1940 Obituary of Mrs. Mary Cimino
Clipped from Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, Iowa, Thursday, November 7, 1940, Page 7 on
This is the obituary of my paternal great grandmother, Mrs. Mary Cimino, wife of Tony Cimino of South Sioux City, Nebraska.  This obituary is a perfect example of how unreliable information in an obituary can be.

The first inaccuracy is her age and birthdate. The obituary says she was 58 years old and that she was born March 5, 1882.  Based on her birth record in Lentini, Siracusa, Sicily, we know that she was actually born 10 March 1879 so her actual age was 61. The source of the incorrect birth date was probably her husband, Tony Cimino.  He gave the same birth date to the funeral home when they completed the death certificate and this inaccuracy is also etched in stone on her grave marker.

Photo of Cimino graves in Dakota City Cemetery, 6 May 2018, Dakota City, Nebraska photo by Nick Cimino

The writer of the obituary was presumably correct about the location of the funeral at St. Michael's Catholic Church in South Sioux City and her address was 611 W. 17th Street, South Sioux City. The names of the priest, Rev. M.A. Quinn and the funeral home [Becker's] are also presumably correct. We know for a fact that she was buried in the Dakota City cemetery.

Antonino Cimino and Maria Ossino about 1935;
Estimated date of photo would be in the 1930s prior to the death of Mary Cimino in 1940.
Probably taken in the yard of their home in South Sioux City, Nebraska
When we get to the names of the survivors we seem to have a big problem with spelling.  Here is how the names should be spelled with correct letters underlined: Survivors include the widower, Tony, four daughters, Mrs. Camilla Gonnion of South Sioux City, Mrs. Josephine Vontash of South Sioux City, Mrs. Sarah Oddo of Omaha and Mrs. Rose Ferraguti of Omaha; four sons, Dick, Fred, Sam and John Cimino of South Sioux City; a sister, Mrs. Camilla Peri of Omaha and 12 grandchildren.

I was excited when I found this obituary because it confirms that she had a sister, Mrs. Camilla Peri of Omaha.  The memory of this sister had been lost to the Cimino family. Her birth name was Carmela Ossino and she immigrated alone to the U.S.A. in 1912 one year after her sister, Maria Ossino had immigrated with her three children. We only recently discovered this long lost sister when I found my DNA match, Kevin Cunningham, who was a grandson of Carmela Peri.

It is also interesting to note that six of eight children were living in South Sioux City in 1940.  Daughters: Sarah Oddo and Rose Ferraguti were living in Omaha. After World War II, Dick, Sam, Camilla, Josie and Sarah would move to California where they all died.

Obituaries can be very useful for the genealogy and family history that they contain. Be careful to verify the information with other sources as they are often filled with mistakes as shown in this example.  They also contain clues about long lost relatives and can enrich the story of our ancestors.

Mary (Ossino) Cimino grave with Sophie, Mary Jo & John Cimino
Mary Jo looks pretty young (about 8?) and the grave still looks new.
There are flowers in the background so this could have been taken in the spring of 1941.